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The Linguistic Context of Biblical Hebrew 2


Admission requirements

A working knowledge of Biblical Hebrew or another ancient Semitic language (e.g., Akkadian, Aramaic, Classical Arabic) , such as Biblical Hebrew 1 or Biblical Aramaic.


An introduction to the North-West-Semitic small-corpus languages from Transjordan (Moabite, Ammonite, and others) on the basis of a grammatical introduction and a detailed philological study of selected inscriptions. This class also serves as an introduction to Semitic epigraphy.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students have familiarized themselves with the linguistic features of the Semitic languages of Transjordan and their cultural-historical background and have acquired general philological skills to study unvocalized texts independently. They are able to explore this independently in a broader historical-comparative context by consulting the available literature.


The timetable

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

Total course load is 140 hours, of which:

  • 13 tutorials of about 2 hours (26 hours);

  • preparing lectures, including reading and assignments (57 hours);

  • preparing written exam or writing a paper (57 hours).

Assessment method


Oral participation and preparation of texts to be studied in class (40%)
Paper (60%)


The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the teacher.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Additional study materials

Reading list

To be communicated during class.
For some background information, students should take a look at K. Beyer, “The Languages of Transjordan”, in: H. Gzella (ed.), Languages from the World of the Bible, Berlin and New York 2011, 111-127, and H. Gzella, “Peoples and Languages of the Levant During the Bronze and Iron Ages”, in: M.L. Steiner and A.E. Killebrew (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant, Oxford 2013, 24-34; ResMA students should also study H. Gzella, “Northwest Semitic in General”, in: S. Weninger et al. (eds.), The Semitic Languages, Berlin/New York 2011, 425-451.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


H. Gzella


Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).